• Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106





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Modern Languages at Radley

Radley’s Modern Foreign Languages department is proud of its history of encouraging large numbers of boys to develop their language skills at (I)GCSE and A Level.

Before arriving in the college, nearly all boys have studied French for two to five years at preparatory school. They are setted on arrival on the basis of Common Entrance or Radley Scholarship results. The top 24 boys in year 9 (The Shells) study French, German and Spanish


The rest take French  and either Spanish or German. French is compulsory to GCSE level and, in 2014, 89.6% of boys achieved an A*/A grade at (I) GCSE level.

Many off timetable languages are offered to boys with particular enthusiasms in these areas including:  Dutch, Greek, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese and Portuguese.



There is a strong sense of teamwork, communal purpose and collaborative efficacy amongst the dons who teach languages. All 17 members of the department willingly and routinely offer support, share materials and give advice if and when required and communicate a genuine enthusiasm for their subject to the boys they teach. In addition we offer sessions outside time table for additional support to help boys with preparation for their oral exam, controlled assessment guidance or grammar tuition. More often than not, this will take place in Central Hours, in the evenings or at the weekends.

Annual trips in all three subjects allow boys vital first hand access to the language they have chosen to study and its cultural context. Many Modern Languages dons are native speakers, allowing boys to hone the authenticity of the delivery of their target languages as well appreciate and understand cultural differences.

Use of IT in language teaching is imaginative and creative and the Public and departmental server for all three languages acts as a valuable archive for teaching materials and a learning resource for pupils.
Many boys go on to read Modern Languages at university and we have enjoyed considerable success with Oxbridge entry in recent years, including four offers in January 2014 and 3 in January 2015. 

Clear leadership within the department provides a sense of effective care which creates an environment in which all members of the department feel supported and motivated to excel.


Beyond the timetable, Radley is able to support boys in pursuing their interests in languages that we do not offer in the curriculum.

The college’s proximity to Oxford University means that we have access to a pool of suitable tutors who can give lessons at times that fit in with the busy school day.

We currently offer extension classes in Mandarin, Russian and Italian but, in the recent past, boys have been supported with GCSEs and other qualifications in Japanese, Modern Greek and Dutch.

Boys interested in classes in an extra-curricular language should contact the Head of Modern Languages to discuss availability and timings.

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